Awards Galore this Spring for the City of Piqua

OhioEPA 2014

 

The City of Piqua has recently received a number of awards.  The OhioEPA presented the city with the 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Brownfield Redevelopment for various initiatives including the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment, Piqua Power Plant Riverfront Development, and the Historic East Piqua Redevelopment projects.  Development Program Manager Bill Lutz accepted the award on behalf of the city.

 

State Auditor Award

The Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost presented the city and Assistant City Manager Cynthia Holtzapple with the State Auditor Award for Outstanding Financial Reporting.  Only 5% of Ohio local governments receive this award.

 

 

2014 TCUSA Piqua - Bill Beagle

For the 18th year, the City of Piqua has been recognized as a national Tree City USA.  The Engineering Department’s Bob Graeser serves as the City Arborist and received the award from State Senator Bill Beagle.

treecityusa

 

Thanks to all the Departments and Employees for outstanding work and service for the City of Piqua community.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance of Piqua Municipal Airport & Hartzell Propeller

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Over the past couple of years, I have been striving to seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to include the Piqua Municipal Airport into the National Plan for Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).  The importance of the airport being included in the NPIAS is that it provides federal funding for capital improvements and maintenance upkeep.  The cost to make such improvements is extremely high.  For instance, to increase the airport runway length from its current 3,997 linear feet to 4,500 feet is $3.3 million.

Increasing the runway length is important to enable various types of aircraft, such as corporate jets, to utilize the airport.  This is important to be able to attract new corporate businesses and assist Hartzell Propeller in its operations as the airport’s Fixed Base Operator (FBO) while maintaining the Hartzell Propeller Service Center.  I think everyone would be amazed at the quality and innovative services that Hartzell Propeller provides at the Piqua Municipal Airport to companies around the world.

The FAA has refused in the past to allow Piqua Municipal Airport to be part of the NPIAS due to the fact, according to the FAA, that we are under a 30 minute driving time to the nearest NPIAS airport in Sidney (even though the city’s driving time was certified at more than 30 minutes).  However, most recently, the FAA has informed Speaker John Boehner that it could be included if the airport has some national significance.

This response led to my most recent letter to the FAA to justify the national significance of the Piqua Municipal Airport.  I have decided to print my letter within this blog so everyone can fully comprehend the value and importance of Hartzell Propeller and the Piqua Municipal Airport in our community.  I do want to extend much appreciation and thanks to Speaker John Boehner and Tristan Weis for their support and assistance in helping us with this endeavor.

*****

March 21, 2014

 

Benito De Leon

Acting Associate Administrator for Airports

U. S. Department of Transportation

Federal Aviation Administration

800 Independence Ave., SW

Washington, DC 20591

 

Dear Mr. De Leon:

In response to your recent letter of February 24, 2014 to the Honorable John A. Boehner regarding the application of the Piqua Municipal Airport-Hartzell Field into the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), I am offering the justification for inclusion of this airport into the NPIAS based on extremely significant national interest.

The City of Piqua is the headquarters of Hartzell Propeller. Hartzell Propeller is the international leader in advanced propeller design and manufacturing technology. Seventy-Five percent of the aircraft in world utilize propellers from Hartzell Propellers. This company has now extended operations to Texas, Alabama, and California and expanded engineering and manufacturing into aerospace and military, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Hartzell currently provides testing for FAA and EASA certifications at the airport for designing more efficient propellers for companies around the world. Hartzell engineers are working to convert engines from AV gas to Jet A fuel for environmental concerns and worldwide availability.

In addition, Hartzell Propeller serves as the Fixed Based Operator for the Piqua Municipal Airport. Not only does the company provide operations and services for the airport, but it conducts major propeller service and repairs at the Piqua Municipal Airport which serves as the Hartzell Propeller Service Center. Here’s a list of companies and corporations that utilize this airport on a regular basis for aircraft service or business primarily because of Hartzell Propeller.

State of Ohio Aviation

Ohio State Highway Patrol

Dornier Aircraft Company

Howell Enterprises, Inc

AMF Pakistan Aircraft Company

Lanceair Aircraft Company

Vans Aircraft Company

American Champion Aircraft

Aviat Aircraft Company

Velocity Aircraft Company

Found Aircraft Company

Aerodyne Aircraft Company

Pro Pilots Inc.

Gippsland Aircraft Company

Diamond Aircraft Company

Power Flow Exhaust

O & N Aircraft

Blackhawk Engine Conversions

Vitatoe Aviation

Electro Air

Northrup Grumman

Embraer Aircraft Company

EPS Diesel

Thielert Diesel

Wipaire Floats

Tri State Warbird Museum

Emerson Stewart Airshows

Matt Chapman Airshows

Bill Leff Airshows

Team Aero Dynamix Airshows

Mobile Instrument Repair

Island Seas, LLC

Portland Aviation

Muncie Aviation

North Country Aviation

Perfecto, Inc.

Mike Goulian Airshow

Sean Tucker Airshows

Cirrus Aircraft Company

Glasair Aviation

Hawker Beechcraft Company

Piper Aircraft Company

Cessna Aircraft Company

National Grid

Pilatus Aircraft Company

Socata Aircraft Company

Lone Mountain Aircraft Sales

Midwest Maintenance

Milcon Commercial Concrete

D & D Classics

Sunset Meats

Corning Glass

Menards Home Improvement

Meijer Stores

Kingrey’s Aircraft Maintnence

Kiamy’s Inc.

J Crane

Scott Enterprises

Hemm’s Glass

TK Constructors

Flight Management

Keller Corporation

C & C Aviation

N70KC Corporation

Northwest Aviation

King Ag Leasing

Samaritans Purse

Hartzell Propeller Inc.

The world’s leader in advanced propeller design and manufacturing should be considered a significant asset and national treasure for the United States. Inclusion of the Piqua Municipal Airport into the NPIAS would allow Hartzell Propeller to expand services and operations to better benefit aeronautical industries within our nation and throughout the world. The request by the City of Piqua, Ohio for inclusion of this airport into our federal airport system seems extremely valid and appropriate when considering the relationship of this company to the national interest of our country.

We appreciate your continued consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Gary A. Huff, ICMA-CM

City Manager

 

Cc: Honorable John A. Boehner, Speaker of the House

Mr. James Bryant, Administrator – Ohio Office of Aviation

 

 

 

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New Assistant City Manager / Economic Development Director Hired

Justin Sommer

The City of Piqua recently hired Justin A. Sommer to fill the position of Assistant City Manager / Economic Development Director.  Justin will begin work on April 14, 2014.

Justin was selected from a number of well qualified applicants from around the nation.  The selection process included participation by Executive Management staff, city Department Heads, and the Executive Committee of Grow Piqua Now.

Justin currently holds the position of Director of Development with Miami County overseeing a staff of 15 in divisions of community and economic development, planning and zoning, and building regulations.  He previously served a the Regional Workforce Director for the Ohio Department of Development.  In that position, he administered grant funding for work force training activities, assisted businesses in developing training plans, and provided expertise in identifying workforce needs.

Based on our most recent Economic Development Strategic Plan, key areas for the City of Piqua in the future will be focusing on workforce development and entrepreneurship.  Justin’s experience, knowledge, and skills will help us to achieve our desired result.

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Economic Development Strategic Plan Presented

Tripp Muldrow

The City of Piqua and Grow Piqua Now embarked in 2013 on developing a new Economic Development Strategic Plan to help guide economic development activities for all organizations involved in economic development efforts throughout the city.  Arnett-Muldrow from Greenville, South Carolina was selected to assist in putting together the economic development strategies because of their vast experience of working with over 300 municipalities across the United States regarding economic development strategic planning, branding, and master planning.

The Draft Economic Development Strategy was presented on February 20, 2014 to the Piqua City Commission, Planning Commission, Grow Piqua Now, and city staff.  The plan was well received and is now being finalized for adoption by these entities.

Some of the 17 strategy recommendations of the plan include:

  1. Create a Brand System for Piqua
  2. Create a Local Pride Campaign
  3. Implement the Riverfront Redevelopment Plan
  4. Create Co-Working Space for Entrepreneurs in the Downtown
  5. Host Roundtables for Targeted Industries
  6. Develop a Housing Trust or Community Land Bank
  7. Encourage Downtown Residential Development
  8. Focus on Providing more River Recreation
  9. Explore an Angel or Community Investment Fund
  10. Work with Private Land Owners to Promote Development Sites

There are many great recommendations in the plan for the City of Piqua to move forward in effectively advancing economic development opportunities.  As we move forward, there will be more focus and emphasis on workforce and entrepreneurship development to help expand existing and grow new businesses, along with improving the skill levels of residents to fill the many jobs already available in the community and the future.

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2014 State of the City

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PIQUA — Piqua City Manager Gary Huff welcomed a crowd of approximately 100 members of the community to the State of the City Address on Wednesday morning at the Fort Piqua Plaza and began by using a quote he recently came across to describe his feelings regarding the city.

“City managers should get goosebumps about the cities where they work,” Huff said, and added in his own words that “all of us in the city should get goosebumps.”

A crowd of more than 100 people attended the annual address, including city commissioners, county commissioners and, among others, city employees, which Huff remarked were “the ones that make it all happen.”

During the 45-minute address Huff delivered and reviewed the 2013 goals and accomplishments and put a spotlight on the 2014 outlook across Piqua at the event, which was sponsored by the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce.

Huff began by complimenting the many assets, both natural and man-made, the community offers, from the plaza where the address was given to the city’s winding bike path, John Johnston Farm and Edison Community College.

“What a great beauty we are,” Huff said. “This is a tremendous community.”

Running down a long list of 2013 accomplishments, Huff spoke of the Piqua hospital demolition, which was paid for in part by a $2 million grant, and the process of turning the grounds over to the Piqua City School District for the future completion of a new school facility, Piqua Central Intermediate School.

Thanks to $345,000 in funding, Huff also spoke on the Wayne Streetscaping project, and noted how such improvements can lead to a better downtown district, saying “it is extremely important to have a good-looking and viable downtown.”

While on that topic, Huff said the East Ash Street/U.S. Route 36 Beautification project has come along, despite the winter where snow covered up much of the progress for the public to see. Huff called the project “one of the great things about this community.”

Turning his attention to parks and recreation, Huff said he was more than pleased with the variety of upgrades within the city’s parks system, consisting of the new community garden plots; the Piqua Skate Park, which was completed last March; the pickleball courts located at Mote Park; and the volunteer park rangers program, which has cut down on vandalism and graffiti.

When it came to technology, Huff said the city’s $1.7 million high speed fiber project is state-of-the-art and that Piqua was “one of a few places in the area that can offer this.” Huff also said the new fiber possibilities could be an extra incentive for businesses to come to Piqua.

In the realm of public safety, Huff told the audience how much a $1.03 million SAFER grant has brought six new firefighters/paramedics to the Piqua Fire Department.

Huff said in 2013 the city completed the Storm Water Master Plan, Phase 1, and either replaced or repaired approximately 50 storm basins.

Other important accomplishments mentioned by Huff included: the renovation of Canal Place, the waste water treatment pilot study that was performed, the city’s government academy, Fountain Park Bridge accessibility; and neighborhood enhancements.

As for economic development in the city over the past year, Huff said “we have had a great year. Several new businesses have opened up and others are coming.”

Huff then discussed a set of projects and developments that are underway in the city, beginning with the Riverfront District Redevelopment, which the city has received $450,000 in grants for so far.

“If we make this happen you will see things in the city that you have never seen before,” Huff said, who noted the redevelopment project could bring tourism to Piqua.

Huff also mentioned the Safe Routes to School program and the $495,000 grant that helped put the project in place. Through the program pedestrian walkways and traffic will be improved at or around schools.

In addition, Huff also said the County Road 25-A, Phase II, reconstruction between Country Club Lane to Looney Road has come along smoothly so far and will continue into the spring.

Huff said street paving throughout the city in 2014 will also be a major focal point.

“In case you haven’t noticed, we have some potholes,” Huff said. “The last two winters have taken a tremendous toll. … We will put more into paving streets than any other time in our past. You will see a lot of paving.”

Other projects taking place this year include the city’s first handicap playground, which the city has received a $20,000 grant for; the Employee Health and Wellness Clinic, which employees can use for free and has a yearly savings of $750,000; the continued progress on the water treatment plant plan and replacing the city’s current, 90-year-old water facility; the new housing construction at the Deerfield Subdivision, which was purchased by Cornerstone Construction; and a planned dog park.

This article was reprinted from the Piqua Daily Call.  The PowerPoint presentation can be viewed at http://www.piquaoh.org/cm.htm#stateofthecity.

Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.

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Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project…A Game Changer

Riverfront District Concept

This past week, after months of planning, we publically unveiled the Concept Plan for the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project.  I truly believe this project can be a “Game Changer” for the Piqua community by inspiring both public and private investment for river recreational enhancements, new commercial and retail business opportunities, and downtown living places.  The benefits to the community could ultimately result in added investments, attraction of businesses and jobs, new residents, and many more visitors to the city.  This ultimately means increased community prosperity and wealth.

The development of the river corridor is not a new idea.  The Great Miami River has always been recognized as a tremendous asset.  The unanswered question has been how to take advantage of the river for maximum benefit to the Piqua community.  Thus, we began our quest months ago to find a solution to this enigma.

Several circumstances fell into place as we began this venture.  A Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund Grant (CORF) of $1.4 million enabled us to begin the clean-up of the riverfront behind the old Piqua Power Plant which is currently underway.  The Power Plant Riverfront Project will provide much improved aesthetic and recreation enhancements to that section of the river. In 2012, the City of Piqua was selected by the Ohio Development Services Agency as one of six Ohio localities for a pilot Brownfields Action Plan Program to help communities determine the impacts of brownfield sites on an area-wide scale with the goal of improving the revitalization of these properties.  The area in Piqua that was selected for our study was the Downtown Riverfront.

The Piqua Brownfield Action Plan was completed in December 2012 involving a number of public input meetings over a period of months.  In addition to the study, the city also received a $50,000 grant to provide further detailed analysis of the Downtown Riverfront area.  CityVisions Associates of Louisville, Kentucky was selected to assess the properties and buildings within the Downtown Riverfront and recommend the viability of redevelopment and provide a concept plan based on the findings.

The Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Concept Plan identifies those buildings that have potential for feasible reuse and eliminates those that garner little or no value.  Elimination of some buildings also opens up the riverfront for improved accessibility and recreation opportunities.  The City of Piqua already enjoys one of the best trail systems in Ohio and attracts users from all over the state and region.  Our Piqua Recreational Trail System connects us to the Great Miami River Recreational Trail which connects to 330 miles of paved interconnected trails linking communities throughout the Dayton and Cincinnati regions. The further redevelopment of the Downtown Riverfront has the potential to capitalize on these assets and make Piqua a tremendously desirable destination.

Another very fortunate benefit came our way when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the city two grants totaling $400,000 to conduct environmental assessments on brownfield sites throughout Piqua.  These assessments are underway and will help determine if soil contamination is present on any of these sites.  If no contamination is found, it improves the ability for private redevelopment investment.  If contamination is discovered, there may be additional funding available from the EPA to clean-up the sites and make redevelopment more attractive to companies.  The Downtown Riverfront is included in this city-wide assessment.

The overall Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project needs to be a Public-Private Partnership venture with private investors taking on the restoration of buildings and the city pursuing grants, donations, and other funding sources to develop river-related recreation facilities.  We have an unprecedented history and experience with the Private-Public Partnership Model as demonstrated with the Fort Piqua Plaza and we hope to repeat this great success.

As we move forward, more public meetings will be held to solicit input, attract investors, generate ideas for specific activities and facilities, and hopefully encourage community support for the project.  We have a great opportunity to do something very extraordinary that could well determine the future of Piqua.  I hope that you will have the same view and be part of this Piqua “Game Changer” project.

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Riverfront District Redevelopment Concept Plan Unveiled

Riverfront Development Concept Plan

After months of planning, the Riverfront District Redevelopment Concept Plan is now available for public view.  A study of the potential redevelopment of the riverfront in the immediate downtown began with Piqua being selected as one of six by the Ohio Development Services Agency’s Office of Redevelopment for a Brownfields Action Plan.  This pilot program was created by the state to help Ohio communities determine the impacts of multiple brownfields and to help revitalize and redevelop affected properties.

(Brownfields are properties that may or may not have environmental contamination as a result of previous industrial or manufacturing uses.)

Upon completion of the Piqua Brownfield Action Plan in December 2012, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the City of Piqua a $50,000 grant to further study and plan the redevelopment of the Riverfront District.  The City of Piqua hired CityVisions Associates of Louisville, Kentucky to assess properties and buildings within the district to recommend the most viable uses.  CityVisions determined that some of the existing building are of great redevelopment value while others are not.  Overall, the district has tremendous potential to provide both river recreation and commercial redevelopment.

To coincide with the Riverfront District Redevelopment Concept Plan, the City of Piqua was also fortunate to obtain $400,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct environmental assessments of brownfield properties within the Riverfront District and other properties throughout the city.  Those assessments are currently underway and will help identify whether contamination is present.  The grant monies may also lead to additional EPA funding for clean-up of contaminated properties thus improving the viability of redevelopment.

The vision for the Riverfront District Redevelopment Project is that it will be a Private-Public Partnership with the city making effort to acquire grants to develop the riverfront park area and the private sector investing in commercial and retail businesses.  Meetings are already taking place with possible private investors.  The City of Piqua has also obtained options on a number of the properties to secure the ability to promote the public and private redevelopment opportunities.

I personally believe that the redevelopment of the Riverfront District will be the most important action taken for many years in the future.  This project has the potential to be a “Game Changer” for this community.  It can greatly enhance important commercial, retail, restaurant, and tourism venues for the City of Piqua.

Be sure to read my previous blog regarding the riverfront redevelopment now underway behind the Piqua Power Plan.

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